Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Get Your Macrame On

It doesn't seem possible, given that it was 13 degrees out yesterday, but summer is right around the corner. Or, at least, the time to line up your kids' summer camp is right around the corner. I was hip-deep in application forms, booklets, brochures, and websites for weeks while researching this piece for The Boston Globe Magazine, about the top five day camps in the Greater Boston area.

I've already gotten a couple of calls from readers asking how I came up with my top five. It was pretty simple -- I culled out any camps that were not ACA accredited, then cut those that didn't offer financial aid or sibling discounts. I avoided highly specialized or overnight camps -- we had a separate article about those -- and I focused on the day camps that offered kids plenty of choices or interesting activity options. They may not be the highest-rated or otherwise "best" camps in Boston, but they're definitely among the most interesting.

February 10, 2008

Five Great Day Camps

By Lylah M. Alphonse

All are coed; call about extended days, discounts, and financial assistance.

HEALTHY COMBINATION The YMCA of Greater Boston has a wide selection of traditional day camps for kids ages 6 to 12. The Camp at the Ponkapoag Outdoor Center in the Blue Hills Reservation is run by the Charles River YMCA/Needham, and combines ropes and outdoor challenges with arts, crafts, and aquatics. Canton. $225-$300 per week. Weekly sessions run June 25-August 31. Seven campers per counselor. 781-444-6400 ext. 226; poc.bostonycamps.org

MIX AND MATCH At Marcus Lewis Day Camp, kids can tailor their activities to match their interests, with Junior Discovery campers (grades K through 5) making decisions each day as a group and Teen Exploration campers (grades 6 through 10) choosing electives individually. Weekly themes add to the fun, and specialized camps (cooking, golf, and dance, among others) allow kids to really immerse themselves in their favorite activities. Devens. $474-$598 per week. Weekly sessions run June 23-August 15. Five campers per counselor. 978-929-9997; marcuslewisdaycamp.com

GO NATURAL At the Drumlin Farm Summer Camp, run by Mass. Audubon, campers ages 4 to 17 get to explore the ins and outs of a real wildlife sanctuary and working farm, with plenty of chances for hands-on experience with farm animals and forest, field, and pond environments. Trip and travel programs are available for older kids. Lincoln. $300-$795 per session. One-week and two-week sessions run June 23-August 15. About 200 campers per session, divided by age. Five to seven campers per counselor. 781-259-2223; massaudubon.org/drumlin

FUN, IN GENERAL Beaver Summer Programs at the Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill are known for their highly specialized summer activities (circus camp, anyone?), but the General Camp also has plenty to offer. Younger campers (ages 3 to 5) get to play on equipment and fields scaled down to their size; older kids (6 to 12) can choose their own electives throughout the day. Chestnut Hill. $890 to $1,060 per session in the General Camp. Two-week sessions run June 23-August 15. About four campers per counselor. 617-738-2750; bcdcamp.org

FOR HORSE WHISPERERS 4-H Camp Marshall is tailor-made for the horse-crazy kid in your life. The Young Riders (for campers ages 5 to 7) and Saddle Up (ages 8 to 14) programs blend traditional camp activities with an intensive introduction to horsemanship and horseback riding. Not that into horses? They also have a more traditional (and less expensive) program. Spencer. Horse camps $405 per week, traditional day camp $275 per week. Weekly sessions July 7-August 15. Three to 12 campers per counselor (depending on program). 508-885-4891; campmarshall.org

The hardest part of the story? Winnowing it down to just five. (No, I didn't include the camp my kids go to, even though they love it so much they get together with friends during the winter just to talk about summer camp. Why not? If I included it, everyone would send their kids there!)

No comments: